The holidays are always tough when you’ve lost/are losing someone you love. Last year, my mom was very disconnected from all of the holidays festivities. BUT…at least she knew what they were. She had at least some faint memory of Thanksgiving. This year, mom had absolutely no idea what Thanksgiving was.
I tried several times prior to Thanksgiving to prompt her and spark some kind of memory about the upcoming holiday. I talked about it, explained the food, even showed her the date on her calendar. When I showed up to her house on Monday with all of the kids (who were out on Thanksgiving break), mom was confused as to why they were out of school. I tried to tell her that it was because of the holiday that week, to which she responded,
“Holiday, what? What do you mean by holiday, what are you talking about holiday. I don’t know what you’re saying.”
I suppose deep down I knew that it wasn’t going to click. I suppose I just wasn’t ready to accept it. I held hope that once all the family arrived and once she saw all of the foods that it might click. I spent the early afternoon at my in-law’s house before heading over to my parent’s house around 5:00 Thanksgiving evening. Mom, of course, was in the office, playing her computer game. I asked my family if it had finally “clicked” that it was Thanksgiving; as suspected, mom was oblivious. In fact, she couldn’t quite figure out why everybody was over in her house, though she said it was “real good” that some relatives were around often to visit. She didn’t recognize my Aunt, who she sees a couple of times a month. She was confused about who my sister was (her darker hair, recently dyed, has mom a bit confused).
I went to say hi to mom in the computer room. I sat down beside her and she asked why I was there.
“It’s a holiday today mom. It’s Thanksgiving. It’s that holiday right before Christmas when you eat all the good foods…remember?”
“Hmm? Holiday what? I’m confused what you’re saying, holiday. My stupid brain, I don’t know what you all keep saying holiday. My brain is so stupid.”
Try as I might, I could not bring her back and help her to remember Thanksgiving. The concept is gone. Thanksgiving with mom is gone.
Last year, the holidays were hard. I felt really blue. It was the first holiday season that I really didn’t have my mom there to help me with the food, the planning, etc. It was the first holiday season that we faced knowing mom had dementia. But at least she knew what the holidays were.
Seasons change. Another year has come and gone and dementia has taken more away from us. While we celebrate what we are thankful for, I am thankful to still have my mom. But I sure do miss my mom and the way life once was.
I wonder now…will she remember Christmas?